Just and the Justifier

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Comments on ‘What Southern Baptists must do to slow their decline’

RE: What Southern Baptists must do to slow their decline | On Faith & Culture.

I have been reading various reports about ‘Hemorrhaging Faith’; here in Canada and in the United States. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada produced a report by that name last year. And the Southern Baptists have engaged in introspective navel gazing in response as statistics of declining membership etc catch up with the reality of their loss of spiritual vitality some time ago. Empirical statistics are always, at best, lagging indicators in a spiritual setting. Sometimes, they could be false indicators; as the leadership hierarchy roll out initiatives, which might inflate the numbers in a brief burst of ersatz spiritual fireworks.

I could give my own deep and comprehensive rendering of the problems. And I would probably be 90-95% correct. But my efforts would be of little use. This would be due partially to the fact that I would be perceived as an outsider in a variety of ways. Rebuke and reproach is only effective, at best, if the person addressed believes that one is, at heart, on their side; that the advice given is from someone who is genuinely interested in their welfare, apart from any personal benefit to the counselor. Loyal criticism from one’s own is always preferred. Outside criticism sends the guard goes up. The wagons are circled.

A particular problem with SBC members is that they demonstrate fierce denominational nationalism and pride; not the type of attitude that is prone to self-doubt and introspection. And I have been acquainted with this proud and unbecoming sectarianism, which is particularly unique to Southern Baptists and puzzling to outsiders; in Israel, America and back here. I see something of the same in Conventional Baptists in Canada. But that is another story.

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Betrayal of Men by the Evangelical Mind (Part 1)

Dipping into the man-o-sphere, of both secular and religious varieties, they argue that there is an evidential propensity for even the “New Calvinists” (Driscoll, Mohler, Kevin DeYoung) to place unbalanced blame for the current state of gender relations and of marriage and ‘extended male adolescence’ upon the [young] males themselves.Men, already suffering under a legal regime that is deliberately tilted against them, and recent an economic downturn that initially hit them more, will only respond with contempt toward the Gospel and Full Counsel of God because of these obtuse pontifications without empathetic understanding. Perhaps with  tinge of self-pity, it will feel like obtuse preachers blaming the ‘victim’.

The man-o-sphere is inclined to blame this male shaming on the effeminization of the Evangelical Church. This must seem terribly ironic to “New Calvinists”. Certainly, Mark Driscoll deems himself, the epitome of rugged American manliness. And “New Calvinists” have received more than a fair shake of castigation, often vitriolic, from feminists and Evangelical egalitarians, who exalt the things of WOMAN above the things of God. Stung by prior misstatements, some of these theologians have deliberately bent over backwards to appear fair-minded; thereby kowtowing to modern cultural sensitivities at the expense of spiritual fidelity.

However, the critique that such man-up rants emanate from compromises to endemic and insidious feminism is unfounded. They derive from a different source. They reflect symptomatic excesses and perversities of a conservative ‘patriarchal’ mindset, unjustified by Scriptures; of ‘males as leader, female as flotsam’ attitude. ‘If only the man knew how to wind the woman doll up properly, she would obey his every whim.’

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